Mumbai: Just when you thought Vodafone had aced it with their first Super Dad ad, where the father saves the day with his new found dhoti-tying skills, they put out another, where daddy uses Google Maps and superior connectivity to find a loo for his daughter in unfamiliar surroundings.
The beauty of these ads is in the simplicity of it all. What probably helps director Prakash Varma of Nirvana Films, known best for his work on the Vodafone ads, from the boy and pug to the Zoozoos, is experience. Beyond the fact that he’s been shooting with kids for close to two decades, Varma is that as a father of three kids—two boys and a girl.
“As a parent of three children I’ve done this several times over, especially when we’re travelling,” laughs Varma, while narrating his experience of shooting the ad, where the Super Dad uses Google Maps and unflinching network on his phone to quickly find a loo for his kid in an unfamiliar location. “And as Murphy’s law will have it, the loo will be farthest from the location you are at!”
Varma chose to shoot the loo run ad, which shows a father running with his daughter in his arms looking for a public loo, in a sleepy town some 20 minutes away from Kathmandu, Nepal. Choosing the location for the character and chaos it brought to the storyline with its beautiful narrow lanes, which occasionally threw up surprises such as a cart blocking the lane to the loo. The stunning casting for the role of the father and daughter in the ad helped, says Varma, explaining that it wasn’t easy for either of the actors to be running for two whole days during the shoot. “It’s fine to do it continuously for an hour, especially through narrow, cobblestoned streets. But once you realize that you’re going to end up doing this for two days, it’s difficult…” he said.
The first Super Dad ad, shows a father saving the day with his new found dhoti-tying skills thanks to a video on the internet. The mother leaves early for work, after getting the child ready in his costume—a dhoti and a crown to match—for a function at school. She instructs the father to drop the son off at the school bus stop, on time. The father and son leave for the bus stop, ambling along the road, kicking stones, when the child’s dhoti comes undone. The father looks around, but on finding that there is no one around to help, he looks for a video online which helps him save the day as he gets the costume back in place, and his little boy to the school bus on time.
“Usually, you see mum’s doing this (the school run) so I loved the fact that the father was doing it. And wanted to capture that cluelessness when the dhoti falls off,” said Varma, adding, that shooting the part where the garment falls off on the way to the bus stop was a pressure point for him. “We had to ensure that the dhoti came off naturally in the first few seconds, as they were walking to the bus stop. So we got the kid to do what kids do, skip and kick stones while walking down the road,” he said. “It’s these small, simple moments that make a film special.”
Surprisingly, the Super Dad ads, which look like a well planned series for the brand, was never intended to be a series, so to speak. “We had no intention of having a Super Dad series. The intention was to have a series of ads which essentially showed consumers how they could be Super with Vodafone’s SuperNet. Doing things they wanted to do, faster, like never before. So we have a lot of scripts around this idea, whether it was the Super Fan, Super Brother and now Super Dad. It was just a complete coincidence that one Super Dad ad came after another. The campaign was created for the Indian Premier League which will soon draw to a close, so one more film will probably be launched before the close of this season,” said Rajiv Rao, national creative director, Ogilvy and Mather India, who is super happy but not surprised with the response the ads have got so far. “To be honest, we’re not surprised by the response, they (the Super Dad ads) are very charming.”
The Super Dad ads are part of the campaign launched by Vodafone India, India’s second largest telecom service provider, for the popular Twenty20 cricket tournament Indian Premier League.
“Network plays a crucial role in enhancing customer experience. In our continuing endeavour to provide superior voice and data services, we have made significant investments to expand, upgrade and modernise our network across the country. To seamlessly cater to the evolving consumer needs, Vodafone SuperNet uses multiple technologies to provide over 194 million customers across the country all-round benefits of a superior network experience, beyond just speed,” Sandeep Kataria, director, consumer, Vodafone India, had said in a statement during the launch of the SuperNet campaign in March.